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Emailing Prospects for securities/insurance

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Sep 10, 2008 2:58 pm

I am a newly licensed series 7/66/health life var. annuity rep with mass mutual.  I am an independent agent for securities and insurance.  I was recently going to send an introduction email to about 100 friends, family and previous business associates.  The email just detailed my contact information, the fact that I had joined MM and that I could assist with any insurance and securities needs.  I was told to submit first to my agency compliance officer and he submitted to corporate.  I had cut and pasted from compliance approved template and made some very inocuous changes.  I then received an email back detailing the changes I needed to make as well as stating that I needed a letter from each "prospect" giving me permission to send them an email, before I could send them an email.  This is only for prospects and not existing clients.  I have a hard time accepting this.  Does anyone know if this is a FINRA rule.  I went to the website and found some things but nothing concrete.  It does not seem logical to me that in todays Tech driven world that I need to get permission before I can send an introductory email to a prospect.  It would also seem to go against the myriad of marketing programs that offer drip email marketing, etc to financial advisors.  I am currently going back and forth with compliance on this.  HELP

Sep 10, 2008 3:17 pm

It is an anti-spam law.  Your compliance officer is correct.  Call your prospect and ask permission.  If they give it, great.  If not, oh well.  Rinse and repeat.

Sep 11, 2008 12:14 am

fl72, there are a few issues here. 

1) Anything that you send to more than one person is considered advertising.  It has to get approved before being sent.  It doesn't matter if it's a letter, fax, or e-mail.  The back and forth with your compliance department seems like a pain in the butt, and it is, however, you will quickly learn how to phrase things to get compliance approval.

2) Finra's rules are irrelelvant.  If your B/D says that you have to wipe with your left hand, you have to wipe with your left hand.

3) You can't e-mail or fax anything to anyone without having their permission to e-mail or fax.  It's similar to not being able to call anyone at home if they are on the do not call list unless you have their permission to call. 

The bottom line is that your compliance department is correct, but it's not a big deal.  You'll quickly figure out how to deal with this issue.

Sep 11, 2008 1:52 am

spend the time some weekend and do it professionally.  include a business card if possible.  no matter how far along we get technology wise, the personal touch always makes you look better.  

Sep 11, 2008 3:07 am

guys, i sincerely appreciate you taking time to respond.  I know how valuable your time is and thanks again to all that offered some information.  I think this site is great and a valuable resource for someone new to the industry

Sep 11, 2008 12:16 pm

I'm going to agree and disagree with Theironhorse on this one.  He's certainly correct that the personal touch is helpful and you need it in this business.   However, it's not going to change the compliance approval issue unless every letter is personalized.

Additionally, it takes longer and costs more and the reality is that it won't accomplish anything.  In some ways, this could simply be a case of call reluctance.  Sending the e-mail or letters won't accomplish anything unless it is followed up with a phone call.   Even then, you'll find the e-mail/letter to be useless.  If you want, try the following experiment.  Send the e-mail/letter to 50 people.  Follow up with a phone call to ask for an appointment.  With the other 50 people, don't send the letter/e-mail.  Just call them.  You'll get the exact same response rate.